OMAR AZIZI
University of Southern California
Undergraduate - Business Administration
FOR GIVING REFUGE TO REFUGEES:
Omar Azizi grew up as an Afghan refugee in Pakistan, prohibiting him from obtaining a formal education. Despite this obstacle, Azizi educated himself by reading borrowed books and taught himself four languages. At the age of 20, Azizi and his family resettled in San Diego after they were granted asylum in the United States. Within a year of his arrival, he successfully learned English and math and placed high on college entrance exams. During this time, he was extensively involved in volunteering on campus and helping with the resettlement of refugees in San Diego and Los Angeles. Azizi’s humanitarian initiatives were recognized by the White House and President Barack Obama.
After earning his associate’s degree from MiraCosta College, he transferred to the University of Southern California on a prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship to study business. Using his past experience as a refugee, Azizi and his team created Safar, an app that connects NGOs on the ground. Safar, scheduled to launch this summer, will also provide refugees with information on how to find medical, legal and educational resources. Safar’s focus will be aimed at the Moria camp in Lesvos, Greece, where 10,000 refugees are stranded. In the future, Azizi plans to expand Safar to other refugee camps around the world.